Emma joined Wolverhampton’s two other MPs, Pat McFadden and Eleanor Smith, to join forces and call on the Government to keep their promise to the over 75s of Wolverhampton, and ensure the BBC keeps free TV licenses for the over 75s.

The BBC is currently consulting over changes to free TV licenses, and in a letter to Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, the three city MPs have called on him to intervene and keep the free benefit.

Speaking about the letter, Emma said:

“The three MPs represent over 17,000 households in Wolverhampton with a resident aged 75 or older, who could be affected by any changes to free TV licenses. Older people are disproportionately affected by loneliness and isolation, and any change will just make this worse.

“Free TV Licenses is a Government policy and as such the Government has always funded them. But the Government decided to hand over the responsibility for funding this to the BBC, and now they will not provide any compensation to the BBC for this. This was a Government choice and could reduce the money available for the programmes and services we all use every day.

“The Government made a promise to the over 75s that they would not lose their TV Licenses. They must step in and make sure they do not break it.”

After signing the letter, Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said:

“Free TV licences for older people were introduced by the Labour Government because we understood that when people retire and are earning less, a TV is often an essential. The policy saves pensioners £150 a year. The Tories placed the axe over this when they shunted responsibility for it to the BBC. They said they would maintain free TV licences until the end of this Parliament but now the BBC is threatening to cut back entitlement, either by raising the age limit or means testing the benefit.

“If they did either of these things, over 2,000 households in my constituency could lose out. This is a benefit and should never have been devolved to the BBC. Doing so is no excuse for the Tories to break their manifesto commitment or make people poorer. The Government should stand by their word and ensure old people can keep their free TV licenses”.

Eleanor Smith, Member of Parliament of Wolverhampton South West said:

“Television is very important to the over 75s as a source of information, entertainment and company. At the stage of life when these households are likely to have less income, the saving of £150 a year on a TV licence could be very important.

“This is a benefit and it is so typical of this Conservative Government to take things away, and then try and put the blame for this on another organisation. They are putting the BBC in a predicament, but it is the Government who are responsible.”